Volleyball Hosts Loyola Marymount Thursday, Pepperdine Saturday in WCC Play

Santa Clara returns to Leavey Center this weekend after a five-match road trip.
Santa Clara returns to Leavey Center this weekend after a five-match road trip.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Santa Clara volleyball plays its first West Coast Conference home matches of the 2018 season this week. The Broncos host Loyola Marymount at 7 p.m. on Thursday in the Dick's Sporting Goods Conference Home Opener and Pepperdine at 1 p.m. on Saturday. 

The Broncos (5-9, 0-2 WCC) are looking to snap a three-match losing streak and pick up their first conference win of the season. Santa Clara was swept at San Francisco on Thursday night in the WCC opener and fell in three sets at Pacific on Tuesday night.

GAME DAY LINKS

Video
TheW.tv: LMU | PEP
Live Stats
StatBroadcast: LMU | PEP


THE BRONCOS

Allison Kantor made her fifth straight start on Thursday night and remained in strong offensive form against the Tigers. She led Santa Clara with 12 kill on .476 hitting. Kantor has played in all 21 sets over the last six matches after playing in eight sets during the team's first eight matches. The redshirt sophomore has reached double-digit kills four times in the last six matches and is averaging 3.24 kills/set in that stretch.

Michelle Shaffer has double-digit kills in nine of her last 12 matches and four double-doubles on the year. She leads the team in kills (130) and aces (18) while ranking second on the Broncos in digs (153). Shaffer was selected to three all-tournament teams in nonconference play (Ameritas Players Challenge, Santa Clara Invitational, Bulldog Brawl).

Tessie Powers made her fourth straight start at setter against the Tigers after spending all of last season and the early part of 2018 as a libero/defensive specialist. She has a double-double in four of the last six matches.

Shaffer, Chloe Loreen and Alexa Dreyer have played in all 14 matches and all 49 sets of the season thus far. Loreen has 11-plus digs in nine of her 12 starts at libero, including three matches with 20 or more digs. Dreyer has at least two blocks in seven of Santa Clara's last eight matches.

The Broncos returned three players from injury on Tuesday night. Liliana Light played for the first time since Sept. 14 (missed three matches) while Anna McCreadie and Kathryn Decker played for the first time since Sept. 1 (missed six matches).

Roster Breakdown

• The Broncos return 12 players from the 2017 roster, 10 of whom saw the court last season.

Michelle Gajdka and Taylor Odom played in all 30 matches and 115 of 116 sets a year ago. Gajdka led the team with 361 kills (3.14/set) and ranked third with 277 digs. Odom tied for the team lead in block assists (97) and was second with 108 total blocks (.94/set).

Allison Kantor and Tessie Powers each took the court in 29 of 30 matches. Kantor, a 2017 WCC All-Freshman Team selection, posted seven double-doubles on the season and closed out the year with six double-digit kill efforts in her last seven matches. Powers finished second on the 2017 team with 287 digs and posted 10-plus digs 16 times.

Brittany Gillingham (25 matches), Tatiana San Juan (23), Gretchen Reinert (19), Chloe Loreen (16), Anna McCreadie (11) and Ngozi Nwabuzoh (9) round out the returners that took the court. Laura Willems did not play last season and Kathryn Decker redshirted. 

• Santa Clara welcomes six newcomers: UCLA transfer Alexa Dreyer — who joins the team with two years of eligibility remaining — as well as freshmen Alex Anthony, Kamrin Caoili, Liliana Light, Natalia Rentsch and Michelle Shaffer.

• 2017 players lost to graduation: setter and 2017 West Coast Conference assists leader Kirsten Mead (1,232 assists, 10.62/set), middle blocker Jensen Cunningham (team-best 114 total blocks), setter Erin Reineking. Mead also led the team with 33 aces.

Head Coach Jon Wallace

• Jon Wallace, the winningest coach in program history, is in his 20th season at the helm in 2018. His overall record is 366-215 (.630).

• The Broncos have reached the NCAA Tournament 13 times in Wallace's 19 seasons.

Captains

• Redshirt juniors Anna McCreadie and Taylor Odom, junior Alexa Dreyer and freshman Liliana Light are the 2018 team captains. 

Class Breakdown

• Seniors: 1 - Tatiana San Juan

• Juniors: 7 - Alexa Dreyer, Michelle Gajdka, Anna McCreadie (RS), Ngozi Nwabuzoh, Taylor Odom (RS), Tessie Powers, Laura Willems

• Sophomores: 4 - Brittany Gillingham, Allison Kantor (RS), Chloe Loreen, Gretchen Reinert

• Freshmen: 6 - Alex Anthony, Kamrin Caoili, Kathryn Decker (RS), Liliana Light, Natalia Rentsch, Michelle Shaffer

• By State: California (13), Oregon (2), Washington (2), Colorado (1) 

THE LIONS 

• Santa Clara is 35-39 against Loyola Marymount in a series that dates back to 1979

• 10/12/17: LMU won 3-2 @ LMU | 11/11/17: SCU won 3-2 @ SCU 

• The teams have split the season series for five straight years (since 2013)

Loyola Marymount (11-3, 1-2 WCC) is in a stretch of five matches in 10 days. The Lions were swept in their WCC opener last Thursday and won a Saturday match in five sets at Portland. They fell in four sets against San Diego at home on Tuesday night.

The Lions entered the week with a pair of NCAA leaders in Tess Reid (12.75 assists/set) and Emma Johnson (.491 hitting percentage). They are hitting .300 as a team for the season.

LMU was picked to finish third (of 10) in the 2018 WCC preseason poll, while the Broncos were picked to finish sixth. The Lions went 16-13 overall and 9-9 in conference play last season to finish tied for fourth (Gonzaga) in the WCC.

THE WAVES

• Santa Clara is 33-40 against Pepperdine in a series that dates back to 1982

• 10/14/17: SCU won 3-2 @ PEP | 11/9/17: SCU won 3-1 @ SCU 

• Santa Clara has won five of the last six meetings

Pepperdine (8-5, 2-1 WCC) is also in a stretch of five matches in 10 days. The Waves won via sweep at Portland on Thursday and downed Gonzaga in four sets on Saturday before falling at home to No. 1 BYU on Tuesday.

The Waves are outhitting opponents .259 to .186 on the season. Blossom Sato entered the week ranked 25th in the country with 11.05 assists/set.

LMU was picked to finish fourth (of 10) in the 2018 WCC preseason poll. The Waves went 16-15 overall and 8-10 in conference play last season to finish tied for sixth (Santa Clara) in the WCC.

PROMOTIONS

Thursday

- All fans will receive a Dick's Sporting Goods voucher good for any store location.

- Dierks Bentley Concert Ticket Raffle: Enter to win two (2) tickets to see Dierks Bentley at Shoreline Amphitheatre on October 5. Visit the marketing table for more details.

- Ruff Riders only: First 200 Ruff Riders receive a koozie.

Saturday

- Camper Reunion: All volleyball summer campers that wear their Santa Clara volleyball camp t-shirt will receive free admission into the match. The offer is valid on game day only. For a discount on additional tickets, use promo code Broncos18 when buying tickets online.

Click here to see the full-season promotions calendar.

TICKETS

Season and single-game tickets are available. Click here to purchase online or contact the ticket office weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. at (408) 554-4660 or BroncoTickets@scu.edu. Group discounts are also available through our ticket office sales and service consultants. Doors to Leavey Center are open one hour prior to first serve. Pricing is subject to change. 

PARKING

For weekday matches, the Leavey Center lot, located on Accolti Way off El Camino Real, is free beginning one hour prior to first serve. Any other parking facility on campus will be subject to normal daily rates or restrictions, including the main structure, located adjacent to Stevens Stadium on Palm Drive. During the weekend, campus parking facilities are free (except for permit required locations). Click here for a campus map and parking restrictions.

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GO BRONCOS!